|Stanford returns to campus amid impromptu celebration|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 07 October 2007 12:57|
``I can see why my mom gets so nervous,'' said the Cardinal redshirt freshman quarterback on Sunday. ``I keep telling her I'm just playing. But even I got clinched up watching that last drive and I knew how it was going to come out.''
Pritchard, the nephew of former Washington State quarterback great Jack ``The Throwin' Samoan'' Thompson, made his first career start against the Trojans, who were 41-point favorites. The win sparked an impromptu celebration by Stanford students outside Maples Pavilion, who waited for the team to show up at about 12:30 a.m. local time.
The crowd, estimated at anywhere between 2,000-5,000 people, rocked the buses as they pulled up.
``It was crazy,'' said senior receiver Mark Bradford, who caught the game-winning TD with 49 seconds left to play, ending the Trojans' 35-game home winning streak. ``I had no idea how much people cared about football here.''
The spontaneous celebration itself was as improbable as the upset.
``Not even the Final Four (basketball) team got that great of a reception,'' said Mike Eubanks, Stanford's director of football administration. ``In terms of impromptu gatherings, that was by far the largest on campus. It was great to see this campus come to life and it shows what a win at this level can do.''
Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the gathering and told them how much it meant for such a reception.
``That was the icing on the cake,'' Harbaugh said. ``It was a great feeling for our team. Our players experienced the ultimate feeling of winning.''
Harbaugh and Pritchard had a brief conversation on the sidelines late in the fourth quarter.
``I just said, 'Where would you rather be?''' the first-year coach said. ``I told him to enjoy the moment, and enjoy the feeling. These guys have been told 'No, you can't do this.' They were told they couldn't possibly think they could beat USC. This football team, on Saturday, said 'Yes.'''
Bradford, who turned 23 on Sunday, attended his father's funeral in Los Angeles on Tuesday and dedicated his performance to him.
``That's what made it such a big win for me,'' Bradford said. ``USC was one of his favorite schools and he wanted me to go there. It was an awesome feeling.''
After Bradford caught the touchdown pass, Pritchard was at a loss.
``I didn't know what to do,'' he said. ``You never want to get too excited about one win but this was a huge win. There's a time where to start to look at it as just another game.''
That time hasn't yet arrived.